Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: #GIRLBOSS

My rating: ●●●●

Sophia Amoruso
India: Penguin Books Ltd., 2014
256 pp. 699
ISBN: 9780241971680

Summary: How often do you come across female entrepreneurs who are as excited and boastful about their achievements in life as they are about the fact that they did it all themselves despite their lack of any required skills or knowledge? In India, this rarely happens for real and that’s the reason why I liked this book and the truth that it has instigated in me a feeling that is only going to fuel my passion for thinking out of the box.

My take: The title: a hashtag! I am sure this one would be a first you would have come across. The cover page looks simple, with a single-tone, light-colored background and the protagonist, author standing with arms akimbo, occupying almost 70% of the cover page clearly conveying the message that this book is all about her. For some it would look like a memoir, for some a business reference book, for others a self-help and for a few like me, a perfect blend of feminism, personal development and self-help, which fills the readers up with a few useful tips they should always keep in mind and a lot of enthusiasm to face things head-on.

The writing style has been deliberately kept as colloquial, as the author wants to stay as basic and connected to everyone as possible. This is a perfect rags-to-riches story of a young girl who just kept walking on a path that seemed right to her and eventually, explored her way to success. The author has never been to college and is, also, a high school dropout, but thanks to her being street-smart that she got this far. She has a lot of tips to share with the fellow entrepreneurs which might just sound familiar, but yes, we all do need reminders!

If you are looking for a serious business book, which might just walk you down the path of entrepreneurship, this is simply NOT the one you should pick. This one is a nice, brief autobiography cum self-help book which touches base on the general values one should hold while walking on the road to being big; for instance, success is all about trusting your instincts and following your gut, or life is short; don’t be lazy or this one, true success lies in knowing your weaknesses and playing to your strengths.

In fact, it should prove to be really helpful to those who are going through a tough phase and want to see some light at the end of the tunnel. It would definitely instigate loads of enthusiasm and #badgirl attitude in you, pushing you hard to take things more seriously. In fact, by the end of the book, you would want to tap the immense energy this #badass attitude might hold for you. What’s better? Along the way, you would also laugh out loud on the author’s narration of her outlook on things and fuckups she did. A great read if all you are looking for is a light, hilarious and thought-provoking book which might also leave you with a handful of great tips to keep safe in your pocket. I really loved the illustrations depicted at the beginning of each chapter for they are equally bitchy and sassy!

Final word: A funny, entertaining, sassy and incredibly smart book, which does not give away incomprehensible preaching, but easy street-smart lessons which that Marketing course might never teach you.

Monday, October 12, 2015

My first Varalakshmi Vratham

My story is one perfect example of amalgamation of two cultures, one from cosmopolitan Punjab and the other from traditional Andhra. Going by my instincts or love or spirit to marry my beau had gotten me into a new land of a new language, new cultures, new traditions and new ways of leading life. Needless to say, it has been an enriching experience which I would have deeply missed had I gotten hitched in my own community. I always had hots for South Indian guys and since college, I was pretty sure I am going to fall for one from the foreign land and no wonder, the fate!

So, now, I am a semi-Andhraiite, still trying to get my tongue twist on the tunes of Telugu words and training my taste buds for spicy, Andhra food. But the best part about this cross-cultural union is that I get to celebrate the bests of the festivals from the North as well as from the South. We had God’s grace shining on us, so we could celebrate my first Rakhi and get all the love from my family. A day before, I got to celebrate my first Varalakshmi Vratham and this experience was both divine as well as overwhelming for both of us.

Since I do not have any elder’s guidance on how things should be, I had to bank on my cousin sisters-in-law, Kanthi and Pallavi and one great bhabhi (vadina, as they say in Telugu), Rani. These guys helped me great deal to understand the festival and the values hidden in it and perform the pooja according to the rituals. The best anchor, my husband was always next to me to lead the way but yes, he never forced anything upon me, neither if I should fast nor if I should perform the pooja. It was my interest and excitement which he fueled further .

So, I had my new sarees in place, gold purchased (kasu) in place, a thoroughly cleaned and decorated mandir in place and all the raw ingredients required to prepare the prasadam the next morning right in place. One best aspect of participating in South Indian festivals is you get to purchase plenty of new clothes and jewelry all the time! Anyway, the next morning, I got up at 5:30 in the morning, took a shower, draped my new saree and set out to my kitchen to prepare the five dishes I had plan to cook. I must say I not only surprised myself but also my best friend and my husband who couldn’t believe I could do all this in one go.

I prepared the following – carrot kheer, lemon rice, rava kesari, Pongal and daddhojanam. By 9, I was all prepared and set for the pooja. This vratham is not exactly a tiring one, as you get to eat right after you perform the pooja. We performed our pooja at 11:40 in the morning and had food right after that. This pooja experience was calming and, also, brought us closer as a couple – we recited all the mantras in Sanskrit together and sung the Arti, too. Singing ‘Lakshmi Raave Maa Intiki’, I, not even once, felt like an outsider. For the first experience, this one was truly outstanding! The craze to wear a new saree, to eat all these tasty dishes, to wear new jewelry and, of course, to do things right was all the driving force behind, but by grace of Maa Lakshmi, I had the best first Varalakshmi Vratham ever!
Daddhojanam or Curd Rice
Lemon Rice
Carrot Kheer
Rava Kesari/Halwa


Friday, October 9, 2015

Face-off with Failure

One of the hundred, and probably the most crucial, reasons why a person fails in accomplishing a task he aims at is he just wasn’t ready enough to face the opportunity at hand with all the arms it required him to bring to the table. What’s worse, it takes us tad too long to make out where we were wrong and where we needed to improve; result? An even worse turn of events unfolding.

A rather tough array of events takes place when you become a little too confident about the coming success that you can almost hear its doorsteps walking towards your main door and bah! you encounter failure disguised as success. Yes, I use the word disguised. For so has happened with me and I think this has been a first in life.

Out of the blue, you see an opportunity waving at you; you sense you must be extra special for someone to fall for you; you start running in whichever position you find yourself without carrying the right stuff you might need in order to keep the conversation going; you get treated really well and this inflates your chest further; you come back home and start counting days waiting for a reply; you chase for an answer; you do receive a reply which says you were not good enough. This could demand a frantic behavior of the protagonist, who also might end up passing cuss words for that fido who frigging waved. Anddd this is precisely where you go wrong.

Quickly accepting defeat is, I know, loser’s avenue, but figuring out the reasons to become better is a real sensible person’s trademark. That’s why I attributed failure as ‘disguised success’ for it is going to be an awesome teacher for you for the coming future. This, in fact, is going to make way for bigger opportunities and your bang-on-time preparedness. Sometimes finding a way to hear what we want is what they call as ‘preparing’.

The feeling is bad, I know, but when you see other opportunities waiting for you right at the end of the road you are treading on, you watch your steps this time and walk steady while getting yourself in the best state of mind to face them. You also give a high five to Steve Jobs (in your mind, of course) for saying the following words, “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.” For him, they did; likewise, for me, better days are on their way to meet me.
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